I used to love listening to the radio.

It’s such a pleasant surprise to hear a song pop up that you haven’t heard in years and had forgotten how much you once loved.  I rarely do that anymore.  Medical commercials have ruined radio for me.  They are relentless and oh so dreary.  I subscribe to a music service and make my own playlists now.  No medical commercials to interrupt my music, no one droning on between songs about cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or dentistry.  I just want to relax and listen to some music.  Isn’t radio supposed to be enjoyable entertainment?  Not anymore.

Television is either Netflix or DVR for me these days.  I am so tired of medical commercials on tv and just cannot stand to watch them anymore.  Is no one healthy in the general viewing public?  It appears not, and the competition is fierce to get your treatment dollars.  If you aren’t already sick enough to know it, they are constantly urging you to do some preventative doctoring.  Buy drugs, take drugs, buy more drugs to counteract the drugs you’ve already taken, and then talk to your doctor about getting some more.  And if you just aren’t invested enough in self-doctoring, try resisting the bombardment of ‘kids with cancer’ commercials.  Donate, donate more, and then some more.  It’s a sick world out there and it needs your money and is determined to get it one way or another.

Maybe they should spend the massive amounts of money they spend advertising on actually researching cures for all these medical problems?  Maybe they should listen to the disclaimers in their own commercials about how the side effects are often far worse than the condition the drugs are being used to treat?  Maybe they should pay more attention to all the class action lawsuits in the attorney commercials regarding all the bad drugs that are killing people?  (Prescribed by doctors, to frightened trusting souls and run of the mill hypochondriacs alike.)  Maybe they should stop sucker punching us with the ‘kids with cancer’ commercials, when all we wanted to do is sit down and watch something fun and uplifting with our own family?  Does tv viewing have to be injected every few minutes with heartbreaking exploitation and scare tactics?  No, and Netflix and DVR are the best options I can see.  Maybe if enough of us protest the horrible commercials by refusing to watch them, they’ll stop?  One can dream.

It’s a wonderful thing to donate to worthy causes, and I’m in no way advocating that anyone should not do this.  I will, however, pass along some great advice given to me directly from one of my husband’s radiation nurses.  There were people in the hospital that day from one of the major cancer charities, passing out flowers and asking for donations.  The nurses were noticeably cold towards them and vice versa.  When I asked why, she told me that the money that goes to that charity is not spent on patients and goes to a lot of things but not the people who need it.  She said that if someone truly wants to help, they should donate directly to the hospital and specify where they want their donation to go.  It will be done.

I know for a fact that is true.  My husband had a tracheostomy during his radiation treatments for throat cancer and his neck would get very sore and horribly painful.  They had some very special, very expensive, bandages that were imported from overseas that helped a lot with that and they generously shared some of those bandages with us on numerous occasions.  She told me that the family of a former patient brings a case of them to the hospital every month and donates them to help others.  How wonderful!  Another example I have from personal experience is that we were offered a prepaid gas card several times by the oncology people at the hospital because they knew we had to drive over an hour each way daily for the months that my husband was receiving chemo and radiation.  We turned those down knowing that some folks needed them even more than we did, but the point is, the cards were offered.  Those prepaid gas cards are donated by people who want to help patients get back and forth to their treatments and the hospital does hand them out to those in need.  I have donated many supplies too since my husband died, and that is something I will continue to do in the future.  I hope that more people will give wisely in the future and see their donations actually benefit someone who needs it.